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Marshall McLuhan and the Medium and the Messenger

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The developments in the second half of the 20th century are an indication that the role of media grew stronger during this half of the century. In order to reach out to the target customers, companies now come out with innovative ideas in the form of advertising campaigns. Advertising, therefore, is a method of communicating the message from the company to the customer using a variety of media in such a manner that the customer feels attracted to the product. The ‘ medium’ as envisaged by McLuhan undergoes many variations communicating the message to the intended user. Nevitt (1981) states that McLuhan was, in fact, an artist engaged in sharpening percepts, instead of concepts beyond the categories of scientists and humanists alike.

While undertaking the task of teaching at reputed universities, McLuhan used to emphasize that the principal aim of faculty is the ‘ training of perception’ , which he took as an ambition for his life. While teaching students younger to him by about 5-8 years, McLuhan used to feel as if there is a generation gap amongst them, which he to be due to the differences in learning methods.

This further led him to investigate his ideas about perception. While arguing that technology is an extension of the human nervous system, he used to say that media is the technological extension of the body and that is why media affects society and culture. It is worth mentioning here that when he came out with the concept of ‘ global village’ , the PC was in its nascent stages while the Internet was nowhere visible. With the help of Ford Foundation and association with anthropologist Edmund S.

Carpenter, McLuhan started coming out with a periodical called, ‘ Explorations’ in the year 1953. This association successfully continued until 1959. Some of the essays from these periodicals were later published in the form of a book titled, Explorations in Communication in 1960. In 1959, McLuhan also took over the responsibility of the media project of the collaboration between the National Association of Educational Broadcasters and the United States Office of Education.

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